Dec 4, 2019

A Drone Just Flew A Kidney To A Transplant Patient For The First Time Ever. It Won't Be The Last.

 
proof-of-concept flight is being hailed as "a stunning achievement."
An unmanned aircraft delivered a donor kidney to surgeons for successful transplantation in a patient with kidney failure, at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
An unmanned aircraft delivered a donor kidney to surgeons for successful transplantation in a patient with kidney failure, at the University of Maryland Medical Center.University of Maryland Medicine
May 3, 2019, 11:02 PM PKT
By David Freeman
Talk about a special delivery.

In the wee hours of April 19, a custom-made drone roughly the size of a washing machine lifted off from a neighborhood in southwestern Baltimore and whisked a human kidney to a nearby hospital, where a team of surgeons successfully transplanted the organ into a critically ill patient.

The 2.8-mile, 10-minute drone flight was the first in the world to deliver an organ — but it almost certainly won't be the last. Drones, aka unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are now delivering medical supplies in Rwanda and other African nations, as well as in the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, and experts say organ-delivering medical drones are poised to take off in the United States.

"Organ drones have the potential to improve access to transplants, decrease costs and improve quality," Joseph R. Scalea, a transplant surgeon at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the leader of the team behind the proof-of-concept flight, told NBC News MACH in an email.

The nighttime drone flight followed a three-year collaboration among doctors, researchers, engineers and aviation experts at the university, the University of Maryland Medical Center and the Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland, a Baltimore-based organization that oversees organ procurement in the state.

In an email to NBC News MACH, Robert Graboyes, a senior research fellow at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia, and an expert in medical innovation, called the flight "a stunning achievement."

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